Are journalists heartless for waiting outside SGH?

March 20, 2015

With the news on how Mr Lee Kuan Yew's condition deteriorated further and he's still in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), it is inevitable that journalists flock to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) to get the latest news on how Singapore's first Prime Minister is doing.

But here comes the dilemma, are journalists heartless for doing so?

I see many people on Twitter bashing the journalists, saying that the journalists are just waiting for bad news (i.e. Mr Lee Kuan Yew's death in worst-case scenario) so that they have something to write about and that journalists are heartless.

I completely disagree.

A journalist's responsibility is to report news. Even better if they are the first to report any news. The question is what's wrong with the journalists doing their jobs? What makes you think the journalists there aren't mourning with the rest of Singapore?

It's like being a doctor. How do you know if they feel bad or not when they failed to save a patient? They put up a poker face when they tell you, "I'm sorry, we have tried our best." Do you say they are heartless just because they didn't grieving together with you?

Do you think journalists have a choice to only write good news and ignore bad news? The fact is that our world is not a bed of roses and journalists cannot report only the good news or it will not give readers a realistic view of the world.

I know of journalists breaking down when they receive an extremely bad news, but they still have to report it. They still have to do their job, ask questions, write the story. Journalists are not supposed to let their emotions get the better of them, neither are they allowed to give their opinions of the issue at hand.

If not for these journalists, where do you get your news from? Somebody has to do this job Let's say there are no journalists gathered outside SGH today and Mr Lee Kuan Yew's health gets better, who will report the news? Can I say you're heartless then, for assuming that there's only going to be bad news?

Unless you are a journalist or you've been one, I don't think you have the rights to complain. Do you know how a journalist's life works? There's no break for them. You go to bed at night with your phone by your side so that you can text your friends. They do the same so that they be woken up immediately with a phone call in the middle of the night if there's breaking news. It's a stressful environment and they feel pressured to churn out top stories every single day.

Being a journalist is already underrated enough as it is, I'm sure the journalists don't deserve this bashing just because they are doing their jobs. Give them a break. They are just trying to do their jobs right too.

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